I have failed many times in my life.
Some failures have been relatively minor, like attempting to learn Italian and giving up after just a few weeks.
Other failures were devastating and painful, like the end of my marriage.
There’s no way around it — failure hurts. The pain can be mild embarrassment or debilitating angst, but no matter how big or small the fall, no one relishes the experience. Everyone wants to avoid failure, and some of us go to great lengths to stay out of its path.
Unfortunately, there is no avoiding failure altogether. Even when we keep our lives contained and predictable to minimize the chance of failure, we’ve already failed ourselves. We’ve given up on our potential and compromised ourselves.
The main problem I see with failure is when we identify with it. Rather than thinking, “I failed at this experience,” we tend to think, “I am a failure.” We overlook all of our positive traits, great relationships, past successes, and happy experiences to doom ourselves to complete loser-hood.
In my research for this post, I read stories from people who viewed their entire lives as a failure, with one string of mistakes and regrets followed by another. They are so immersed in the failure mentality that they can’t extricate themselves from it. It’s heartbreaking.
Even a long string of failures doesn’t destine you to living this way forever. Reinvention and second chances are always available. With some shifts in your thinking and behavior, you can transform the way you see yourself — which will ultimately lead to greater success in all areas of your life.
If you find yourself thinking, “I am a failure,” here are 10 ways to redefine yourself and start again: